My joy for today is defending the choices of American mothers.
A few days ago, Hilary Rosen, speaking in support of the Democratic Party, said that Ann Romney could not understand the economic problems of women because she, as a stay home mother, had “never worked a day in her life.” In the time since, the Obama campaign has emphatically distanced themselves from Ms. Rosen, the President and the First Lady issued statements in support of stay at home mothers and the personal choices of women, and Ms. Rosen publicly apologized and cancelled a scheduled television appearance.
This morning, Mara Liasson, NPR’s National Political Correspondent, was discussing the recent media frenzy over Hilary Rosen’s comment. Ms. Liasson summarized events of the past few days and then was attempting to segue into talking about the differences in female voter support for each candidate. In doing so, she continued the demeaning and belittling conversation on stay at home mothers. She began the next part of her commentary with this quote:
“His [Mitt Romney’s] problem isn’t with stay at home moms, it’s with educated women.”
Stay at home moms are not or cannot also be educated? Ms. Liasson and NPR, is this your official stance on my demographic?
I attempted to find the transcript and audio file of this morning’s broadcast. The file that is available for the 8 am show does not contain the quote that I have discussed. Ironically, the audio file and transcript are simply not the same as the one we heard in the car this morning. I do not claim to understand the intricacies of radio broadcasting and realize that there may have been many versions of the broadcast that we heard. However, the quote by Ms. Liasson was certainly part of at least one version of today’s program, and many comments on NPR’s website show that we are not the only listeners who caught this outrageous comment. If Hilary Rosen owed women an apology, it seems only fair that Ms. Liasson and NPR do the same. In the spirit of honest journalism, why not admit your mistake and apologize to your faithful listeners? Do you assume that stay at home mothers are so uneducated that they were not even listening and therefore are not even owed a response? Please do not continue to belittle us with your silence.
The many ways in which this statement by NPR is incredibly insulting seem almost too obvious to list. But for the sake of my daughters, and in hopes that they will someday read this and know that their mother was in fact, both choosing to be at home with them, and educated, please indulge me while I expound this topic.
Hilary Rosen began this onslaught against stay at home mothers by stating that we do not work. She was obviously referring to gainful employment, we are not paid for our profession, and so we understand her point, albeit insulting and grossly misstated. Mara Liasson basically stated that stay at home mothers, as a group, cannot also be educated women. I find Ms. Liasson’s comment even more insulting than Ms. Rosen’s because it is revealing her own, and possibly the nation’s or large parts of society’s, deeply held, demeaning views on my chosen profession.
Dear National Public Radio, Ms. Liasson, and Society as a whole:
Please stop assuming and propagating the erroneous and discriminatory notion that I am not educated simply because I am a woman and I choose to be at home with my children. A degree is not required to raise my children at home. But I have one. In fact, I have more than one. I choose to spend a large part of my day teaching my daughter to read and reviewing sentence diagramming with my son, but that does not mean that I could not also discuss the current political climate or the nuclear situation in North Korea. I choose to limit myself and my career because I believe it is best for my family that I be at home with my children. This is not sad. This is not anti-feminist. This is my choice as an educated American woman.
Enjoy your joys for today.